In an opinion today, Judge Scheindlin ruled that Bank Hapoalim, a non-party Israeli bank, was required to produce a Rule 30(b)(6) witness to testify about information originating in Israel:
Even if Hapoalim is a non-party witness and all of the documents or knowledgeable persons are in Jerusalem, compliance with the 30(b)(6) subpoena is not an undue burden when weighed against [Bank of China’s] need for the testimony. A person in New York can easily be educated by a person in Israel by telephone, email or videoconference and relevant documents can easily be transmitted on a single flash drive or CD-ROM. Further, in the age of videoconferencing, Hapoalim can avoid the burden of educating a New York employee altogether by agreeing to a deposition by video, to which BOC has consented.
The decision effectively overruled a prior decision in the same case from Judge Gorenstein (covered in this post) in which he ruled that Rule 45’s territorial protections — limiting nonparty depositions to within 100 miles of the witness’s home or business — would be “meaningless” if the subpoena target were required to either bring a witness from abroad, or educate a local witness with information from abroad. Judge Gorenstein cited (among other cases) a 2012 decision from Magistrate Judge Ellis (see here) which endorsed this same view, and which appears to now be in conflict with Judge Scheindlin’s ruling today.